Saturday, October 18, 2008

Game 5: Minnesota at Tampa Bay

So in how many ways can the Tampa Bay Lightning lose in overtime? Yes, they went into overtime for the third game in a row against the Minnesota Wild. Although, at least this one went to a shootout.

I’m one of those people who happen to enjoy shootouts. I’ve always hated ties. What’s the point of playing a game if nobody wins? My only problem with them is that teams get points in the standings for overtime and shootouts, even if they lose. Why should a losing team get any points in the standings? I’ve never understood that. It’s like rewarding mediocrity or something. If you win, you get points; and if you lose you don’t. Why can’t it be that simple?

Besides, shootouts are a great way to showcase the skills of your best shooters and your goaltenders. Goalies are quickly blamed for losing a game, but are rarely praised for winning them – the praise almost always goes to the goal scorers. I think the goalies deserve a little bit of visibility for all of the hard work they do – which is why I make it a point to praise them even when the team loses. If they played well, that is. And Smith played well tonight.

Some people find shootouts to be gimmicky, thinking that it’s not a team thing and that it’s just a entertainment gag. Frankly, they’re not any different from a coast-to-coast breakaway during a game. And, well, sorry to break it to you, but sports are entertainment. Fans pay big money to watch their teams, after all. They deserve to be entertained.

I wish people wouldn’t take sports so seriously sometimes. It takes all the fun out of it. Killjoys.

Malone got yet another penalty tonight. I think I ought to start a Malone penalty watch – just because I can. You know, keep count of the games between penalties. Keeping track of minutes or periods played between penalties is just going too far, I think. If he starts playing penalty-free, then I’ll find something else to do, I guess. So, he went one game without, but got one tonight. The clock’s been reset, and we’ll see how Malone does in the next game.

Overall, it was a good effort by the Lightning. The first and third periods were pretty good. They seemed to be just running around and not accomplishing much in second. But maybe that was just me thinking that. They’re still taking too many penalties. Looking at the box score, I noticed that Koci was benched for the game after taking two penalties in the first five minutes of the game.

Good for Melrose. I like to see coaches institute a punishment-reward system. Often, NHL coaches just reward players but don’t punish them for unfortunate acts. I have my own theories as to why that is, but I won’t air those here. It’s a bit old school of Melrose, but I then I tend to be a bit old school myself, so of course I approve.

They kept shots down, which was good. They even managed to outshoot Minnesota, which is even better – although, not so hard considering it’s the Wild, after all. And, again, Prospal has be great. I know I haven’t mentioned him much, but he’s been such a good player for Tampa so far this season. So has Meszaros. I hope they keep it up.

Well, 0-5 on the season thus far. At least there have been some definite improvement going on. Maybe once they start playing more often things will get better for the Lightning. So it’s still a wait and see kind of thing.

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Usually Frustrated Caps Fan said...

Cassie: I'm a rabid Caps Fan and I now frequently tune in to Bolt's games to see how our guy Olie Kolzig is doing. To say I was shocked last night at Smith holding the Wild scoreless during regulation is understatement. He did indeed play a great game. Nice write-up and as my own own blog attests I couldn't agree more that sports fans like us as a group need to lighten up.